15 Things You Should Never Call Your Child, and What You Should Instead

15 Things You Should Never Call Your Child – and What You Should Instead

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rashmi Prakash (Psychologist/Psychotherapist)
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What’s the one thing that most kids have in common? They openly express their emotions. If they are happy, they show it with loud laughter and playful behaviour. And if they are sad, oh the whole world can see it! Now as a mom, there are bound to be instances where you need to call out your child on inappropriate behaviour, or are in a situation where you simply need to describe your child’s nature and personality. You need to be especially careful when you are doing so when your child is within earshot. And even when he isn’t around, you need to pick the right words, because the words you choose have a huge impact on what you think of your child – and how you deal with him.

As a parent, you want your child to be the best they can be. Help your child grow up healthy, happy and self-confident by making sure you use the right words to describe them. Read on to know the kind of words that you must use to describe your child, and why.

1. Intense Instead of Difficult

Does your child get excited easily, even with something as simple as being treated to his favourite ice cream? Do small things upset him easily, like leaving the playground five minutes earlier than usual? If the answer to both your questions is yes, what you have is an intense child. An intense child is one who feels all emotions more deeply than his peers. While this means it is easy to make your child happy, it also means that the smallest thing can upset him. Do yourself and your sweetling a favour and never call him difficult. Why? Because not only is your child born this way, being intense is as much a strength as it is a weakness.

2. Introvert Is Not the Same as Awkward

If your child prefers his own company to that of others, he is most likely an introvert. Of course, he might also be shy. It is up to you to find out which category he falls under. Calling your child awkward will not only make her think less of herself, it will also make you think you are lacking as a parent. Rest assured, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. On the contrary, a lot of famous and successful people are introverts by nature. Shyness can be an impediment in life, but being an introvert is in no way a problem.

3. Sensitive Not Fussy

Have you noticed your child reacting strongly to things that other kids hardly notice? You’ve probably got a sensitive little tyke on your hands. Some kids are naturally more sensitive than others, so try to accept your child as he is, and help him to deal with various situations appropriately. One way to do this is to help him put things in perspective before he reacts to a situation. Raising a sensitive child is not for the faint of heart, and calling him fussy or cranky is only going to make raising him harder!

4. Attached as Opposed to Clingy

So your little girl loves to follow you around whenever and wherever possible? She prefers to be with you so often as you are her favourite person in the whole world and she loves you more than she loves anybody else in the world. Never call an attached child clingy – it will only break her heart. If your child has serious trouble spending time with anyone else, and even resents it if someone else wants to spend quality time with you, try out the tips here.

5. Dramatic Rather Than Tantrum King or Queen

You might think it’s cute to call your little one a tantrum king or queen. But what you are really doing is poking fun at your expressive little boy or girl. Of course, chances are that your kiddo is actually quite the tantrum expert. Even then, don’t call him or her anything other than dramatic. Why? Because it’s far easier to help your child tone down the drama than cut out the tantrums.

6. Enthusiastic Instead of Loud

Most children are little bundles of energy, and if yours is a little more than usual, he could be termed as loud and boisterous. Avoid these hurtful terms that can smother his zeal for life and make him doubt his actions. Call him enthusiastic – after all your child’s extra energy is just an enthusiasm for life as he explores things around him.

7. Persistent Over Stubborn

Some highly sensitive children tend to show a stubborn streak as they rely more on their intuition than on outside authorities. If you count your child among these children, calling him stubborn will just teach him to not trust his instincts. Instead, term it as his ‘persistence’ and focus on channelling his persistence positively to make it his strength.

8. Fearless as Opposed to Reckless

The curiosity to explore their surroundings combined with a ‘spirited’ personality tends to make adventurous explorers of little kids with a willingness to risk injury. Don’t term them anything other than fearless, lest they lose this curiosity to explore the outdoors!

9. Passionate Rather Than Quick-Tempered

Each child has a different set of skills, and some children don’t have the skill to understand and control their frustration or voice them, resulting in frequent temper tantrums. They’re passionate about their wants and just can’t figure out how to express them better. Calling them quick-tempered will frustrate them further as they realize you don’t understand their passionate emotions either.

10. Eager Not Impatient

Patience is a learned virtue, with most young children lacking forethought and memory of certain things. They want what they want now, as they don’t think about the future and want to explore and learn – this is their natural instinct. An eagerness to explore is often termed as impatience and this can be damaging to his learning. Make sure you note the difference.

11. Reserved Instead of Timid

With their worlds expanding rather fast every day, many children are born with a cautious instinct that kicks in when they find themselves in unfamiliar situations. This can lead to your child being termed timid. Your child is only being reserved and taking his time to be comfortable, and the term ‘timid’ can be hurtful to his trust in himself.

12. Leader as Opposed to Bossy

Some kids are gifted with natural leadership skills and tend to feel the need to organize everything. They end up directing others rather than waiting for them to figure it out themselves. Often these gifted children are termed as ‘bossy’ and told to tone down on this behaviour in order to be more likeable. This term can end up pushing your child away from his natural leadership instincts as a child – something that can carry on well into adulthood.

13. Strong-willed Over Headstrong

We all know a headstrong child when we see one – the one who is determined to get his way, by hook or by crook. Often termed as ‘headstrong’ children that need to be ‘tamed’ and ‘disciplined’, these children are simply more ‘strong-willed’ than others with their confidence and determination. Nurture these qualities, and avoid using biting terms that can deeply impact young minds.

14. Expressive Rather Than Talkative

As they learn to express their feeling verbally, quite a few children turn ’chatty’ and ‘talkative’ – a term turned negative courtesy of classrooms. Reprimanding our children, which includes calling them ‘talkative’, for expressing themselves can turn them away from speaking up even at the right moment.

15. Unstructured Not Disorganized

Children are quick at learning some skills and need additional time and guidance for others. These include organizational skills as well, but terming kids who take time to grasp these concepts as ‘disorganized’ affects their judgment of themselves. While they’re learning organizational skills, prefer saying ‘unstructured’ as it is a much more positive term.

It’s important that you use the right words to describe your child’s behaviour so that they feel free to be who they are, and are relatively easier to mould into confident, well-behaved kids. Watch what you say about your kids – it might be the one thing that makes or breaks their self-esteem.

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